Story Behind The Song: Carrie Underwood – “Jesus Take The Wheel

With “Jesus Take The Wheel,” Carrie Underwood was immediately embraced by the Country Music Community for the very first time after winning American Idol in 2005. In this Roughstock Exclusive, songwriter Brett James discusses how the song came into existence. 

“‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ was written at Hillary’s house on her living room floor,” Brett James tells Roughstock. “It was done like any other rainy day in Nashville. We walked in, started drinking coffee and talking about what we wanted to write that day. As writers, you kill about a half an hour just shooting the bull, and then it’s like, ‘OK what do you want to write today?’ Gordie says, ‘Man, I’ve got this title … ‘When Jesus Takes the Wheel.’’ Now, we’re kind of used to that phrase, but that was the first time I’d ever heard it, and I kind of laughed it off. 

“We talked about some other ideas, and fortunately after we went through about three or four other ideas, that one kept coming up,” continues James. “So I was like, ‘What about that ‘When Jesus Takes the Wheel’ idea. What would we write that one about?’ We came up with a little girl driving through Cincinnati. There are some personal stories involved. My wife almost had that experience. She had a very miraculous car crash that she walked away from. Since then, a lot of people have. You hear those stories all the time where they say I don’t know what happen, I just know that it was a miracle that I got out of there. “We write all kinds of songs,” James reflects. “We write fun songs and songs you can dance to, and songs that are stupid and silly that sound good on the radio. Occasionally you need to write something that means something to people. Those are the most fun songs to be part of, and this one was definitely one of those.”

Read the lyrics to “Jesus Take The Wheel”

Watch the music video for “Jesus Take The Wheel”